A Moment with the Messiah: Day 17

No matter how you choose to celebrate Christ this season, let the Messiah–not the mayhem–reign in your heart. May you be richly blessed in Him!

Read: Matthew 2:9—11

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 

Reflect: Unlike our traditional stable scenes we see at Christmas, the magi appeared later after Mary and Joseph had moved from their temporary dwelling place (see Luke 2:7) “to the house.” We understand from this passage that they couldn’t see the star at all times, but as they got closer, the star stopped over where Jesus and His family were located. Friends, sometimes we can’t see God directing our lives, but it doesn’t mean He’s failed to guide us. When you’re on a long journey, trust that He will show you when to stop–and rejoice in His faithfulness to direct you.

Respond: Father, when “north” is difficult to find in my life, please show Yourself so I can see where You want me to go. Help me to trust in Your path and be overjoyed.

Tot Time: Here are some ideas of what you can discussion with the tots: “The magi traveled an extremely long way to see Jesus. What’s the furthest you’ve traveled to go see someone?” There were no trains, planes, or cars, so when they had finally arrived, it says they were overjoyed because they had waited so long. Talk with the children about what overjoyed means and why it was so special to the magi to meet Jesus.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin


A Moment with the Messiah: Day 13

No matter how you choose to celebrate Christ this season, let the Messiah–not the mayhem–reign in your heart. May you be richly blessed in Him!

Read: Matthew 1:22—25

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. 

Reflect: Warren Wiersbe talks about the names of Jesus in The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: “The name Jesus means “Savior” and comes from the Hebrew name Joshua (“Jehovah is salvation”). There were many Jewish boys with the name Joshua (or, in the Greek, Jesus), but Mary’s Boy was called “Jesus the Christ.” The word Christ means “anointed”; it is the Greek equivalent of Messiah. He is “Jesus the Messiah.” Jesus is His human name; Christ is His official title; and Emmanuel describes who He is—“God with us.” Jesus Christ is God! We find this name “Emmanuel” in Isaiah 7:14 and 8:8.”

Respond: Mighty God, thank you for sending this world Your own self, wrapped in flesh. Thank you for Jesus Christ–our Salvation and Emmanuel.

Tot Time: God is with us each minute. The Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 31:6 that God will never leave us and that we don’t need to be afraid of what goes on around us. What are some ways you can remember that God is with you at all times?


A Moment with the Messiah: Day 12

No matter how you choose to celebrate Christ this season, let the Messiah–not the mayhem–reign in your heart. May you be richly blessed in Him!

Read: Matthew 1:20—21

20 But after he [Joseph] had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 

Reflect: God informs when the time is right (which isn’t typically our timing). Joseph was going to follow-through with the divorce, but God intervened and instructed him otherwise. I love how the Lord reassures us when we’re fearful–just like He did with Joseph in saying, “…do not be afraid.” Joseph was scared, but God brought Him reassurance and peace and He’ll do the same for you.

Respond: Lord, thank you for what Your Word says in Philippians 4:6—7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I give you all my scared and anxious thoughts today and ask for Your peace that surpasses all understanding.

Tot Time: Ask the munchkins what it feels like to be afraid and about a time when they were scared. What did they do? Talk with them about Philippians 4:6—7 and how we can tell God anything and He is ready to listen and respond to us.


A Moment with the Messiah: Day 11

No matter how you choose to celebrate Christ this season, let the Messiah–not the mayhem–reign in your heart. May you be richly blessed in Him!

We’re now headed into the parallel story of Jesus’ birth in the book of Matthew, since we’ve concluded Luke’s account.

Read: Matthew 1:18—19

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 

Reflect: To the Jewish people, engagement was equivalent to marriage–except they did not live together or consummate until marriage. If an engaged woman became pregnant, it would’ve been considered adultery (see Deuteronomy 22:13—21). Therefore, Joseph had decided to “divorce her quietly,” which was honorable despite the heartache Joseph must’ve felt at this time. When you’re hurt or rejected, what’s your initial response? Our flesh would want to disgrace the other person (the more public the better!); yet, the heart of Christ is that despite the person’s dishonor, we chose to honor God and move forward quietly.

Respond: Gracious Father, you have dealt with me in patience and love time and again, yet I continually call out the speck of sin in another person’s eye. Teach me to love others right where they are and to be patient even when I’ve been hurt and want to make a public spectacle of them!

Tot Time: Being hurt by someone else is never fun. Talk with the little ones about a time when their feelings were hurt and how it made them feel. How should we respond in these situations? Then, ask them about a time when they’ve hurt someone else and how they should change their behavior.


A Moment with the Messiah: Day 10

No matter how you choose to celebrate Christ this season, let the Messiah–not the mayhem–reign in your heart. May you be richly blessed in Him!

Read: Luke 2:19—20

19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. 

Reflect: It would be difficult to imagine what the past nine months were like for Mary. Being engaged, conceiving a child by the Holy Spirit, traveling a long distance, and experiencing the Savior’s birth. Talk about a mind-numbing roller coaster of emotions. No matter how wild your life is, the words in verse 19 are ones to etch on your soul: “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Mary gave careful thought to all that had happened and what was told to her about this baby named Jesus. Approach this Christmas season–and your daily life–in this same manner. The words Christ speaks to you should be treasures in your heart and ponderings in your minds.

Respond: Lord God, I want to treasure up all the things You speak through Your Word and meditate on them. I want to glorify and praise Your name just like the shepherds, because what You say, You will do.

Tot Time: Chat about what a treasure is and ask the little ones to name a few treasures they have at home. Why are those items special? Talk further about how the Bible is a special treasure and we are to keep it hidden in our heart so we do not sin against God (Psalm 119:11).


A Moment with the Messiah: Day 9

No matter how you choose to celebrate Christ this season, let the Messiah–not the mayhem–reign in your heart. May you be richly blessed in Him!

Read: Luke 2:15—18  

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 

Reflect: There are a few key principles in these verses: (1) the shepherds heard the Truth; (2) they became seekers of the Truth; and, (3) they told others about the Truth. Hear. Seek. Tell. It’s not a prescription, but it is a worthwhile discipline because we know from verse 18 that “all who heard it were amazed.”

Respond: Father, often I hear, but I don’t seek. Or, I hear and seek, but don’t tell others. Help me to have complete follow-through and to rightly apply Truth. Let it permeate my entire being so I can confidently tell others who You are and they can be amazed by You.

Tot Time: Have them practice saying: Hear, seek, tell. Explain what each of those words mean. Afterwards, you can pull up Go Tell It On The Mountain on your phone and have them sing with you!


A Moment with the Messiah: Day 6

No matter how you choose to celebrate Christ this season, let the Messiah–not the mayhem–reign in your heart. May you be richly blessed in Him!

Read: Luke 2:5—7

5 He [Joseph] went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. 

Reflect: God is never early, or late. Whether or not you’ve personally experienced birthing a child—know this: when it’s time, it’s time. There is no holding off or rushing forward; you must yield to the pace and the place. Mary wasn’t at home or in a posh guest room awaiting the baby’s arrival. She was in a crazy-crowded town, hunkered in a stable, giving birth to the salvation of the world. That may not have been what she pictured in her mind when the angel visited her, but it was God’s plan. And friends, when it’s God’s plan–no matter our surroundings or circumstances–it’s better to yield and say, “When it’s time, it’s time, my Lord.”

Respond: Perfect Father, how often I want to hold Your hand back or inch it forward to control my world. Yet, you have the best pace and the optimal place. Teach me to willingly yield to Your will and Your way.

Tot Time: Talk about babies being born and what that means to you as a friend, family member, or parent. Remind the little ones how loved they are and how God planned for them to be born. God knew the time and the place. It was just as He wanted!



A Moment with the Messiah: Day 2

No matter how you choose to celebrate Christ this season, let the Messiah–not the mayhem–reign in your heart. May you be richly blessed in Him!

Read: Luke 1:26—33

26In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Reflect: First off, you are highly favored. Favor wasn’t just for the mother of Jesus. God saw fit to seek you out and use you for His purpose, just like Mary. This was the work of the Holy Spirit in you. The Son of the Most High is not only your Savior; He sits on His throne and has granted you citizenship in His eternal kingdom. Oh, how glorious! 

Respond: Savior of the world, thank You for preparing my heart and sending Your Spirit to speak to my brokenness. You were sent to this earth for me, and I want to not only honor You as my King, but also remember that You are Most High and Most Holy. I stand in awe of You. 

Tot Time: Talk about the child’s name and how it was given to him or her. Then, teach the child how Jesus’ name means “God saves” and how God named His Son, just like the child was named. Names are a special gift and are given in love–just like God gave Jesus to the earth as an act of love.


Exodus 31: Rest, Oh My Soul

Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— 4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze,5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts. 

-        The first eleven verses of this chapter should be a reminder to us of this: The Lord always provides for His projects! Detailed and elaborate plans were given to Moses, but what good were plans without someone equipped to do the work?

-         What a beautiful reminder to us, as His slaves, that when He calls – He equips! I love Galatians 3:3, which reads, “Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” First, ask yourself what the Lord has called you to do, and then ask yourself if you’re carrying out that work through the power of the Holy Spirit or through your own efforts. 

-        We don't know much of Bezalel other than God filled him with His Spirit. It goes on further to inform us what it is to be filled with His spirit. It means wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and skill. It was of extraordinary proportion so that he not only could do the work, but teach others. Think about that! When we are full of His spirit, we are given wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and skill. We are not filled just so we’ll have these gifts and keep them to ourselves, but that we should share and teach God’s fullness to others.

6 Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given ability to all the skilled workers to make everything I have commanded you: 7 the tent of meeting, the ark of the covenant law with the atonement cover on it, and all the other furnishings of the tent— 8 the table and its articles, the pure gold lampstand and all its accessories, the altar of incense, 9 the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, the basin with its stand— 10 and also the woven garments, both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests, 11 and the anointing oil and fragrant incense for the Holy Place. They are to make them just as I commanded you.”

-        Verse six in the KJV reads different, and I really like it: "And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee." These men were wise because God put wisdom in them. That wisdom was meant to bring Him glory through the construction of the tabernacle. What are you doing with the wisdom the Lord has given you? Recognize that it is from Him and solely for His glory. James 1:5 reminds us that anyone who lacks wisdom should ask for it, and the Lord will freely give it to you!

-        I love me some F.B. Meyer. So, here’s an encouraging quote from him to mull over: “There is a niche for each of us in God’s service, to each a special work is given; and for each those talents are imparted, which are requisite and adequate.” We all have talents that God has given us! Use them for His glory because what you’ve been given is sufficient for the task.

12 Then the Lord said to Moses, 13 “Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.

-        At first, it may seem odd that Sabbath reminders are inserted into this section. However, previous verses spoke of the work to be done and the individuals who were called to serve in this capacity. While work is a wonderful thing, it must operate in balance with rest. God knew that the god of achievement could quickly distract His people. Think of the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10: “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

-        Martha’s heart to serve Jesus through her meal preparations was not wrong, it was simply that Mary had chosen something better. There were many preparations and details to follow in constructing the tabernacle, and God knew that the Sabbath must be kept or the work would become a distraction instead of an outlet of His glory. What distracts you from spending time with Him? These distractions may not be inherently sinful – but they can be unnecessary or imbalanced. Like Mary, make a conscious and intentional decision to choose what is better.

14 “‘Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it is to be put to death; those who do any work on that day must be cut off from their people. 15 For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day is to be put to death. 16 The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. 17 It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’”

-        To put people to death for not observing the Sabbath may seem a bit extreme in our eyes, but we must remember that what was physical in the Old Testament has a spiritual meaning in the New Testament. We know that the Sabbath was a day of rest. Is not Christ a symbol of the Sabbath? He is the true rest and peace that people seek in this world – and not just one day a week, but at all times. He was put to death so that we could have that complete rest and enjoy Him eternally. What's your “rest” status? My prayer for you is that your Sabbath isn't just on Sundays, but that you carry the act of Sabbath in your heart throughout the week.

18 When the Lord finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant law, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.

-        God gave Moses lots of instructions and thoughts. For forty days, Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving these words from the Lord. Then, the Lord gave Moses something to show the people. Tablets of stone which were inscribed by the finger of God. Wow! That ranks in the “awesome” category, doesn’t it? But that same God who spoke to Moses, dwells in us. We can receive instructions and insight from the Lord, just as Moses did. Proverbs 7:3 reminds us that we are to write God’s Word on the tablet of our hearts. The inscription is permanent! Spend some time today meeting with the Lord, hearing from Him, and letting His word be engraved on your heart. Amen.